21 Best Body Image Songs: What to Listen to, What to Avoid, and Why

Ever felt self-conscious about your body? You’re not alone! (But you knew that already, right?)

As many as 87 percent of older women and younger girls feel the same way.

One simple, easy, and proven way we can overcome bad body vibes is by listening to a well-chosen, body positive song!

Yup, music is fast and effective when it comes to stirring up some feel-good emotion. It can help stop negative thoughts about our bodies dead in their tracks.

Read on to learn how music works its body confidence magic! You’ll also get a list of songs (chosen by me as well as others around the interwebs!) that’ll make you and your daughter feel positive and powerful, inside and out. You can even download a playlist straight to Spotify!

Plus, you’ll get a second list of positive songs for girls that can work in any scenario. These will help her feel good no matter what’s getting her down, including the things that tend to bother teens the most such as school, relationships, and family.

Does Music Improve Your Body Image?

Yes, yup, and of course! That’s why you’re here, right?

Songs we love boost our mood and self-esteem. Listening to music we love also reduces feelings of anxiety and stress, including those related to our body.

In other words, if you’re feeling worried about your body or your weight, listening to a great song can give you an instant body image boost, no diet needed!

Researchers also point out that when we listen to songs we love, we’re less likely to fall into negative thought patterns and negative self-talk. That means we’re less likely to being engaging in body shaming behaviors like telling ourselves we need to lose weight.

And while body positive music can do this, all of the above goes for ANY song we love, not just those that focus on body image specifically.

The results of one study suggested that listening to music that specifically contain body-positive lyrics can promote better body image in women in just two to three minutes (at least compared to listening to body-objectifying music), says Sarah Coyne, PhD. Yay!

Listening to music with body-positive lyrics can promote better body image in women in just two to three minutes.

– Sarah Coyne, PhD

Bottom line: any song that makes you feel good can help lift you out of a bad body image mood!

8 Ways Body Image Songs Work to Help You Feel Good

Wondering how something as simple as melody and lyrics can help ease the pain of negative thinking or have the power to raise up self-esteem? Research shows that listening to music you enjoy works by:

  • Helping You More Connected to Your Body. Music can help you be more embodied. Dancing, swaying, or bopping to songs can help you feel more connected to, comfortable with and at ease in your physical self regardless of your size or shape!
  • Triggering Positive Self Talk. Music can help us transcend our current circumstances and make light of more superficial or trivial worries.
  • Altering Neurochemistry. Listening to music triggers our brain to release a feel-good neurotransmitter, called dopamine, linked with pleasure and reward.
  • Easing Self-Doubt + Stress. Music can also have a cathartic effect, helping us release negative emotions that we might not otherwise be able to express. Research also shows music can reduce feelings of stress, and increase your sense of self-worth.
  • Increase Motivation. Music can also be a source of inspiration thanks to certain lyrics or themes, which can motivate us to focus on pushing towards a goal or realizing a long-held dream as opposed to dwelling on the way we look.
  • Easing the Pain of an Eating Disorder Since body dissatisfaction is a leading risk factor for eating disorders, working on improving body image ups protection from ever developing one in the first place.
  • Make It Easier To Recover From An Eating Disoder. Another study showed that listening to music helped eating disorder survivors feel more relaxed (as opposed to anxious and concerned) after eating. In one study, patients reported feeling music helped them over emotional problems, loneliness, and relationship difficulties.
  • Upping Protection Against Depression. Body dissatisfaction is closely associated with depression in research, so investing time and energy in overcoming it can help you feel happier mentally, function better socially, and live better physically!

Best Body Image Songs: The List!

Here’s the list, including a few lines to give you a preview of what you’ll hear.

The 🎙 indicates my personal favorites (ie songs that worth broadcasting to entire armies of women, IMO!)

If you’re creating a list for your daughter or younger girls, give anything on the list with this ❌ a listen first. This ❌ indicates that Explicit Language is in the house. In many cases, you can download the “clean” version if you prefer.

Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld

“I’m gonna put my body first
And love me so hard ’til it hurts (hey!)
I know how to scream out the words
Scream the words
Gonna love myself, no, I don’t need anybody else (hey)
Gonna love myself, no, I don’t need anybody else (I love me)”

My Skin by Lizzo

“I wear my flaws on my sleeve and my skin like a peacoat
I see someone like me ashamed to be
And honestly, I’m really, really I’m fed up wit’ it, try to send it up like a FedEx
I’m wondering what they sayin’ next
Can’t pretend to not hear it
It’s your beauty, they can’t have it
It’s yours, they can’t have it
I’m done with the struggle
I wanna-I just wanna enjoy my life now
And maybe appreciate my skin
I woke up in this, I woke up in this
In my skin
I can’t wash it away, so you can’t take it from me
My brown skin”

Perfect to Me by Anne-Marie

“Don’t feel like putting make up on my cheeks
Do what I wanna
Love every single part of my body
Top to the bottom
I’m not a supermodel from a magazine, mmh-mmh
I’m okay with not being perfect
‘Cause that’s perfect to me ..”  

“But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful
We’re stars and we’re beautiful”

Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara

“But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful
We’re stars and we’re beautiful”

F*ckin’ Perfect by Pink 🎙❌

“Pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than fuckin’ perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you’re nothing
You’re fuckin’ perfect to me
You’re so mean (you’re so mean)
When you talk (when you talk)
About yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices (change the voices)
In your head (in your head)”

Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter”

Try by Colbie Caillat

“You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing”

Born This Way by Lady Gaga 🎙

“I’m beautiful in my way ’cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself, and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way, yeah”

Roar by Katy Perry 🎙

You held me down, but I got up (hey)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up (hey)
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now
I went from zero, to my own hero”  

Good As Hell by Lizzo 🎙 ❌

Woo child, tired of the bullshit/foolish
Go on dust your shoulders off, keep it moving
Yes Lord, tryna get some new shit
In there, swimwear, going to the pool shit
Come now, come dry your eyes
You know you a star, you can touch the sky
I know that it’s hard but you have to try
If you need advice, let me simplify

Confident by Demi Lovato 🎙

“So you say I’m complicated
That I must be out my mind
But you’ve had me underrated
Rated, rated
Uh, huh, huh
What’s wrong with being
What’s wrong with being
What’s wrong with being confident?”

Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

“I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words cant bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring me down, oh no
So don’t you bring me down today”

I Rule Over the Body That’s Mine by Beautiful Chorus

I’m not here to change your mind But I rule over the body that’s mine I rule over the body that’s mine We’re not here to change your mind What you believe for you’s just fine but In this palace we recite It’s my temple I decide It’s my temple I decide  

Nah Nah Nah by Haschak Sisters

“Well whatcha gonna say when you’re told that you ain’t worth it
(Nah nah nah nah nah, hey!)
Well whatcha gonna do when they say that you ain’t beautiful
(Nah nah nah nah nah, okay)
Well how you gonna act when they jumping on your back now
(Nah nah nah nah nah)
So what we ain’t perfect, we know how to work it
Plus we go hard (nah nah nah nah nah) and we know that we’re worth it”

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself by Jess Glynne

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, no
Learn to forgive, learn to let go
Everyone trips, everyone falls
So don’t be so hard on yourself, no”

I Am Enough by Daphne Willis

“I am enough just as I am
Feel right at home anywhere that I stand
Hold out my heart in the palm of my hand
And I live my life like nobody else can
I am, I am, I am enough
I’ll sing it again I am, I am, I am enough”

Juice by Lizzo ❌

“If I’m shining, everybody gonna shine
(Yeah, I’m goals)
I was born like this, don’t even gotta try
(Now you know)

Rise Up by Audra Day

“You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid”

Firework by Katy Perry 🎙

“You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow
Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it’s time, you’ll know”

Girl in the Mirror by Bebe Rexha

“I’m tired of my thoughts
They weigh me down, feels like I’m drowning
I’m tired of my flaws, they fill me with anxiety and I
Honestly, I’m done with hating pictures of myself
And tryna be like everybody else
I wanna be like, look like
The girl in the mirror
Wanna act like, dance like
No one’s watching her
I could try to be just like you
But I wanna be like me
The girl in the mirror”

Beautiful Flower by India Arie

When you believe in you, who are beautiful
Yeah, you, who are brilliant
Yeah, you, who are powerful
Yeah, you, who are resilient
This is a song for every girl who
Feels that she is not special
‘Cause she don’t look like a supermodel Coke bottle
The next time the radio tells you to shake your moneymaker
Shake your head and tell them, tell them you’re a leader

Get the Best Body Image Songs Playlist on Spotify

Put your own body-positive playlist on your device to help beat body blues!

Positive Songs for Girls!

In my opinion as a parent and a body image coach, sometimes the best positive songs for girls don’t focus on bodies at all!

Empowering songs that describe overcoming obstacles, pushing past setbacks, and moving through tough emotions can pump young girls up in a way that goes way deep and lasts far longer than those about their looks or weight.

Songs about triumph, confidence, and self-love help girls (and adults!) refocus their thoughts on inner strengths, personal values, and the things that really matter to each of us.

In other words, songs that turn around a bad body image day are ones that get girls to stop dwelling on their looks and weight in favor of more productive and positive thoughts that make them feel good.

Positive songs for girls are the ones that raise their confidence by doling out little hits of dopamine. When we’re getting little hits of dopamine, we not only feel happier but more confident.

Parents take note: Researchers found this confidence boost was particularly powerful among girls ages 11 to 17 years old.

Songs about self-worth, songs about self-esteem, and songs about loving yourself despite not fitting into cultural ideals or expections can boost confidence and be even more valuable that body positive songs.

Positive songs for girls can work just like affirmations, helping to break thee cycles of negativity that research shows young girls tend to be prone too.

How to Create Your Own Body Image Songs Playlist

The most powerful playlist is the one you create for yourself! Here’s five tips on how to come up with your own body image boosting playlist:

  1. Listen Closely to New Songs such as the songs on the play list above. For each song, notice how it makes you feel. Happy, sad? Powerful? Scared? (If you’re unclear, using this Wilcox Feeling Wheel will help you ID an emotion.)
  2. Listen to Old Songs such as those you already have on your device. Do the same as above, which is to listen closely and notice how it makes you feel (same as above).
  3. Consider a Clean Out! If any songs trigger negative emotions—say by reminding you of a relationship that went sour or a time in your life when you were really struggling—then simply delete it!)
  4. Get Curious For each song you keep, see if it passes the positivity test by asking yourself, Does this song have the power to interrupt my negative self-talk? Does it distract me from focusing on the way I look? Does it fill me with positive, empowering energy?
  5. Create a New List with songs that make you feel confident and empowered, then keep it handy. Hit “play” as soon as a bad body image day strikes.

The results will be different for everyone, so trust yourself!

You’re the best expert in which body image songs will work for you, which is why—unlike other sites—I’m encouraging you to make your own list instead of just taking my word for it.

The Downside of Body Positive Songs That You Shouldn’t Ignore!

When I was researching body-positive songs for this piece, I found that the most popular recommendations and songs specifically about “body positivity” didn’t make me feel so good about my body at all!

In fact, I found that I was skipping past the majority of the songs just to make sure I could keep my mood up long enough to get me through my run. I preferred the songs that I’d been listening to for years (some of which I marked with a 🎙 symbol.)

At first I thought, “I’m hopeless! And cynical!” Even songs about being positive made me feel negative.

Then I looked deeper into the research. Yes, music can help us all feel better about our bodies! However, Here’s the body image songs caveat you need to know…

The same researchers that found that body-positive lyrics can promote better body image also found that those with “preexisting body image concerns” felt worse after listening to any song specifically about appearance.

From my experience as a nutrition therapist and woman living in the modern world, I’d say almost everyone has some kind of preexisting body image concern.

Which means we ALL need to be careful when listening to music. We need to tune into not just what we’re hearing but how it makes us feel!

Here’s my recommendation for you and your daughter or anyone else you’re helping with this issue:

Be aware—hyper-aware—of how the media you’re consuming is making you feel!

If a song is making you feel anything less than good about yourself, then avoid it.

If you’re a mom, GET CURIOUS. Ask you daughter what different songs make her feel (say when one comes on the radio in the car, or you hear it blaring in her room).

Remember, media is meant to entertain and inspire. If it’s not doing its job, then fire it! (Yup, you can tell that to your daughter too!)

This is an important lesson to teach our daughters that goes beyond music to all media, specifically social media, which is such a large part of our girls’ world.

So just because a song is meant to be about body positivity it won’t necessarily ring true for everyone one of us—we’re all different, after all!

The key is to listen to each and notice what comes up for you. If it leaves you feeling better by the end than when you started, it’s working! If you’re feeling down or unsure, then definitely delete it from your playlist.

Just like affirmations designed to help you feel more positive about your body can make some of us feel worse, so can music that demands we love the way our body looks or keeps insisting “You’re beautiful just the way you are!”

No disrespect, Bruno. It’s just, knowing we don’t measure up to society’s high standards can make this message feel inauthentic and uncomfortable for some of us.

Affirmations, whether they’re in a song or in our own mind, can be a little tricky to work with. Making sure the affirmation feels true to you as well as making sure it’s in line with your own values is key.

Bottom line: If body image songs lyrics or positive body image songs aren’t working for you, don’t feel compelled to listen. Use tips to make your own list (below!) instead!

How You Can Use Music to Feel More Connected to Your Daughter

If you’re trying to help your daughter, have a talk with her about which songs she’s got on repeat. Then ask her why she likes each one and reflect on each one makes her feel. You can also encourage her to delete those that bring her down.

This simple exercise can give you a lot of insight into your daughter, helping you both feel closer and more connected. Remember to be accepting and curious as opposed to judgemental or assuming anything.

You’ll likely share of few of your own favorites and learn some new ones from her too.

For example, Boomerang by Jojo Siwa is on my own playlist. I remember my daughter singing it over and over a few winters ago when she was learning how to ski.

Needless to say, those days included a lot of fails! (On her part and mine; apparently trailing behind her screaming isn’t an effective teaching tactic.)

Every time I hear the lyrics “I don’t really care about what they say I’m a comeback like a boomerang” I picture my little girl picking herself up from a fall. And the image is incredible!

So while this song is extra energizing and empowering for me, it’s definitely not gonna be everyone’s cup of tea.

Here’s Why You Should Skip Body Image Songs’ Videos

To get the best body image boost from these songs, I ENCOURAGE you to skip the youtube versions and enjoy the lyrics and melodies instead.

Why? Watching someone in a perfect-looking body or average (or below average) weight encourage us to “just love ourselves the way we are” can actually make us feel worse.

In fact, it’s one reason the body positivity movement gets criticized so often. Watching someone who’s just not that fat tell you to stop worrying about your weight doesn’t actually make you feel any less worried about your weight.

While the message is beautiful and true, it can erase your own feelings and experience, which might make things worse.

I, for example, love the idea that Colbie Caillet is willing to strip her face of makeup in her video.

However, I’m now confronted with the image of her looking a gazillion times more radiant, which doesn’t help me feel any better about my own appearance or feel like I “don’t have to try, try, try, try” too hard.

In fact, it made start thinking about how she’s beautiful even without makeup–and I’m not. That’s just me, of course! You need to check in with yourself. And teach your daughter to be a good noticer of her own feelings, particular when she’s consuming social or other media.

Bottom line: To really be transformed on the inside by these songs in the best possible way, ignore the images. Let their magic work on your mind and your ears instead.

Body Image Songs for Girls

What is the Importance of Having a Positive Body Image?

Body image has nothing to do with how you look and everything to do with how you feel about your body as a whole—and that gets reflected in how much time you spend thinking about your looks—good, bad, or otherwise.

In other words, you don’t get a good body image by improving your looks. Your body image improves when you stop spending so much time thinking about your appearance!

People with a poor body image or high body dissatisfaction tend to spend a lot of time and energy worrying about their looks, on the other hand—they don’t necessarily look any different than others.)

That means if we can stop dwelling on how we measure up, we’ll improve our body image! And when improve our body image, we benefit with:

  • More confidence (in all areas, not just about how you look)
  • Better moods
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Lower risk of depression
  • Less anxiety
  • Increased physical health (higher body satisfaction increases the odds you’ll take care of your physical health such as by getting medical and dental care if needed, being active, and eating a variety of foods when available)
  • Positive relationships
  • More productive and motivated (because you’re much less concerned with trying to improve or change your looks or weight)

More Playlists for Empowerment, Confidence, and Feminism That You and Your Daughter Will Love!

53 Empowerment for Your Next Feminist Karaoke Night from Glamour Magazine.

53 Best Feminist Anthems of All Time from Harper’s Bazaar

29 Feminist Songs for Any Playlist from TimeOut New York

Moms who feel positive about their bodies are much more likely to raise girls who feel the same way.

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